Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Warring Voices In Jerry Jones' Head

The most disappointing but underreported storyline of the season is the Dallas Cowboys quietly having the best offseason in football.

This is a team that was a Tony Romo injury away from a sure playoff spot and probably a strong competitor for the conference championship. This despite regular absurdities from TO and more distractions from Pacman. With those two pushed from the stoop there should be much greater harmony in Arlington. Roy Williams (the wide receiver) was virtually a non-factor after leaving Detroit but he is fully capable of moving into Owens' role, although with one-third the drama.

Cutting Jones and the other Roy Williams were more additions. Neither player was effective at all last year. Their cuts signify at least a temporary maturing of philosophy in Dallas. The Cowboys will be forced to address the safety position, most likely with their first pick in the second round. Mike Jenkins will likely move into the starting lineup opposite Terrance Newman. They signed Keith Brooking to replace Zach Thomas in what should be no less than a parallel move and their recent addition of Igor Olshansky brings them the best 3-4 DE available in FA. Wade Phillips - probably deservedly - gets a lot of criticism for his coaching demeanor but the man can certainly coach up a defense, as he demonstrated the last half dozen games after taking it over. The pieces are there for the defense to improve over '08.

With Jones, Barber, Williams, Witten, Bennett, Crayton and Austin there are plenty of tools on offense. Romo has yet to shake the reputation of Not Quite Good Enough When It Counts, but that is more likely to be a sample size issue than an actual flaw. The offensive line is not quite the sum of its parts but that is also a factor for minor upgrades and tweaks.

Sadly the Cowboys have improved to become a contender with a normal range of weaknesses rather than a contender that was likely to completely melt down from week to week. The latter was much more fun.


  1. Not all roses of course: they lost that defensive end Canty to the Giants. But yeah, on the whole they have drastically reduced their head-case count. Sort of ironic: when Parcells left, that team as largely head-case free. They've had to work to undo the damage Jerry Jones did with his player additions post-Parcells.

    Re Romo, I read something last season where a personnel exec said that he thought when Romo was coming out of college, that Romo was a knucklehead who could be counted on to make the critical mistake. And that he's seen nothing since to make him change his mind.

  2. I consider Olshansky and upgrade over Canty but that's just me. I think the real point is that Dallas didn't sacrifice anything talent-wise by dumping Pacman, TO and Roy Williams.

  3. I didn't realize Roy Williams was such a liability in coverage.

    Anyway, agree on the potential addition-by-subtraction.


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